The Replacements’ loving tribute to power pop pioneer Alex Chilton. Chilton had many hits as a teenager as a member of the Box Tops and was later a pivotal member of Big Star, one of the best bands of the early 1970s.
Many alt-rock legends loved Chilton. My favorite story involves the Butthole Surfers. From Michael Azerrad’s wonderful history of American 1980s alt-rock, “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” Azerrad related that one night, Surfers lead singer Gibby Haynes was having one of his usual, violent, acid-drenched freakouts backstage at a gig in Holland. Allegedly, Haynes was completely naked and having multiple altercations with the security of the gig, to the point where 10 people had to hold him down. As Haynes was freaking out back stage, a man asked if he could borrow a guitar. Haynes lit into him, yelling “BORROW A GUITAR??!! WELL, WHO THE F–K ARE YOU??!!” itching for an fight. The man calmly said “I’m Alex Chilton.” Haynes immediately calmed down, opened all the guitar cases one by one, and said “Take anything you want.” That, my friends, is what we call the power of ethos.